Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Vintage Lifestyle" Things I Don't Do

Hey! Today I'm just going to compile a short list of "vintage" things I don't really do or like. I know "vintage" can get a bad rap because people can be too purist and snobby about it, but not this gal! Nope. Here's why:

I'm inspired more by "regular" people than by Hollywood glamour.

I do love me some Hollywood glamour, but when I look at candid photos of your average, everyday woman from the 1930s I get more inspired. More often than not she will be wearing an ill-fitting cotton dress (possibly a hand-me-down), socks that don't seem to "go" with her dress, and sensible shoes with small heels. Her hair will probably be frizzy or windblown. She won't have an "ideal" figure and she'll totally bust the myth that all women in the "Golden Era" were tiny. Her posture will be less than perfect, too. I love these Depression-era Janes more than the Harlows and Crawfords. Examples:

Looking at and collecting photos of "everyday" people has allowed me to not be so fussy if my hair doesn't want to curl right or if my skirt gets a wrinkle in it. I'm secure in the fact that women in 1939 didn't have perfect hair and often wore second-hand clothing that did not fit them properly!

I don't swing dance.

Yep, I can't do any of the old dances -- only my special versions of them, lol. I prefer Madonna Dancing at 80s night. Modern swing dancing, dare I say it, is cheesy (ducks tomatoes!) LOL -- but I don't look down on anyone who does it! If you love it that's all that matters! I can only respect it fully when it's done fast and properly -- not by awkward white people in a church basement (wink!)

I don't wear real vintage.

...beacuse I prefer to make my own. Again, nothing against those who wear real vintage head to toe or those who like repro. I just love to sew all kinds of dresses from the 1910s to now. Sewing is so therapeutic for me and helps control my anxiety. I also like the fact that the garment is new, sturdy, and can take a bit of a drunken beating when I wear it out ;) If I wore real vintage out I think I would be uptight all night. I also like that I can make it look exactly as I choose -- no limited options. And this ties in with the next one...

I don't do the vintage look 24/7.

Yup. I used to. When I first learned to sew I wore it to work, the grocery store, everywhere, lol. Now, I realize there is a time and place for it. I always have a "vintage-y" flair to me -- it's just such a huge part of my life that people comment on my "old-fashioned" look even when I am in t-shirt and jeans. It comes from within me, I guess, and an all-out "look" isn't necessary. Again, don't care if you like to go pump gas and stop at CVS in your 1938 ball gown, but I'll save mine for when the appropriate occasion calls. After looking at "normal" women (above) they liked comfort, too, when they had nothing special to do.

I have quite a few tattoos!

This one gets me from time to time! People have actually said that "no respectable girl" in the old days got tattoos. Well, no shit, sherlock. Let me just say I don't give a shit about historical vintage accuracy, I realize it's 2014, I love my ink and want more, and I never said I was a respectable girl! ;) Actually, all my ink is 1920s and 1930s based. I think most "purists" would dig the actual art.

Being a "Proper Lady" isn't what I'm about.

People who love vintage often get stereotyped as "good two shoes." LOLOLOL. Not me. I can drink and curse like the best of them in my "ladylike" 1940s skirt and sweater set! If you like being ladylike, wonderful. I like being stupid!

I like the whole 20th century.

Even the 1990s! I have my favorite era of course -- the time between the two World Wars. A lot of "Golden Era" fans stop there. Others are hardcore into post-War stuff into the early 1960s. You'll hear lots of "vintage" people claiming the 1960s "ruined fashion." There's lots of dissing the 1970s and 1980s! Not me! I LOVE the later 1960s. And the 1970s were more than orange and brown polyester and disco. There were lots of interesting lines in the early 1970s that were very 1930s-influenced. Just look at these passable 1970s patterns I have:

So, I fully admit to loving stuff past the early 1960s. I admit to loving 1970s fashion. My least favorite era of the 20th century is probably post-War. Late 40s to the early 60s.

I have NEVER EVER said I was "born in the wrong era."

This saying makes me cringe a little. I don't think very many people today could hack it -- with all of our modern privileges. I like modern menstrual science, I like birth control, I like not fearing catching polio of TB when I go out, I like anti-anxiety meds, I like modern underwear, I like modern music, I like modern labor laws, I like civil/women's/gay rights, etc. Now, I'm not painting the past as all bad -- this is just the way it was back then, which can look "bad" through modern eyes (except the labor laws and civil rights things -- BAD.) But if I had to choose between a belted bulky pad and a cup you put up there for 12 hours, I'll go with "B." I like that we can be out of the closet now. Just think of all the unhappy people from the past who weren't allowed to love whom they wanted because of stupid social conventions. And YEAY GOD for anti-anxiety meds! If only these were available to Clara Bow her life may have turned out completely differently. People have said to me "I bet you feel you were born in the wrong era, don't you?" I hate it. I have to say "No. I like 2014." The saying is just so awful to me I can't even lie for the sake of small-talk!

And that is it. What "vintage lifestyle" stereotypes do you smash?


  1. I agree. I wasn't born in the wrong era. If you read books or watch movies about the vintage eras, you find out fast that women were treated terribly. Sure, men opened doors for you. But they also blamed the woman and treated her as dirty or spoiled if she was assaulted. Men could beat their wives and most people either thought she had it coming or asked what she did to provoke him. Women were paid half or less of what men were paid. Not to mention women weren't allowed to work in certain fields. And many other examples. I like 2014. I have rights now and am not limited by my sex.

    1. Tru dis! Not to mention, divorces were much harder to get before the 1970s so people were trapped in abusive and/or unhappy marriages for the most part. I have family members in the 40s and 50s who cheated on and hated each other, but stayed married until death.

  2. I hate girdles, garterbelts and stockings. When you have thick thighs, the top of stockings caused lumps and bumps. I love modern entertainment, mainly SciFi/fantasy TV shows and books. I love reading about leather-clad, kick-ass vampire killing chicks. Oh, and while we are redecorating our house into a more retro style, I hate vintage furniture because I'm afraid of fleas, lice and bedbugs.

    1. I like vintage decorations, but I couldn't get an old couch. I need a couch that can handle my fat I'm also not a huge fan of stockings and garter belts. This is why I mainly wear the 40s skirt-sweater-socks-mary janes combo.

  3. I love all of the old pictures you've used, especially that first shot. Too cute!

  4. Yay! I like being stupid too. Fun read...thanks!

  5. LOVE this post!! I agree completely with everything - if you can't put your own twist on vintage fashion to avoid looking "costume-y" then what's the point, amIright? I have two real vintage dresses - one is from the 1930's and made one outing at the office Christmas lunch, and one os from the 1940's (and when I finally make he repairs necessary as it's been badly treated), I'll probably only wear it once or twice as well. I'm SO paraoid about totally effing it up otherwise - red wine stains, anyone?? *lol*

    Fantastic post, and I'll be sure to direct some folks here for an educational read - and some really terrific pics, too! :)

  6. I've been thinking about this a lot lately so its fabulous to have found your post.

    I love the look of vintage clothes, I like Big Band music and BBC dramas about time gone by. But I also know I wouldn't want to live then because so much about my life would be different. I wouldn't be able to be a working professional, choose to not have children, be able to access thousands of movies and tv shows without leaving my house. I'd miss the internet, iPhones, microwave meals and so many other things -- many you've already mentioned.

    But I don't miss misogyny, rampant racism, fears of being thought a communist, fascist or some other -ist that occurred in the past. That's not to say we don't have the same issues today but things are improving, bit-by-bit. I'm glad I live in a time where I can dress like its 1936, 1942 or 1955 and not be locked up for being crazy.

    Would I like a time machine to go back in time just long enough to shop and bring back all those fabulous clothes? Hell, yes. But I would only visit. 2014 is not such a bad time to be a "vintage girl".

  7. I COMPLETELY get that "born in the wrong era" thing or "you're an old soul." I hate it. I was born in the right era to be able to appreciate the merits of yesteryear.


Dress #8 -- Simplicity 7382 (1976)